Withstanding the cold temperatures in Georgia on Sunday, Mathew Scholtz and the Westby Racing team completed a quick, one-day test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. For Mathew, it was his first time aboard the #11 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike—or any road racing motorcycle—since being injured last October at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during round eight of the 2020 MotoAmerica Superbike Championship.
Despite the extent of the injuries to his right leg and ankle, an arduous rehabilitation, and a long off-season that included a trip back home to his native country of South Africa, Mathew acclimated very quickly to the Westby Superbike. “He looked as fast as always, like he’d never gotten injured and hadn’t been off the bike for more than a day,” commented Westby Racing Team Manager Chuck Giacchetto.
Mathew said, “It was really great to get out to Road Atlanta with the Westby team and get some laps in on the Superbike. Obviously, I’ve been off for four-and-a-half months, and it’s been a really difficult time with the rehab and just trying to get all the mobility back in my foot. It’s been a difficult journey, but it makes it all worth it when you get to the track and see the bike being rolled out of the trailer and getting to see the team once more.
“It was really cold out, so we waited till after noontime to ride on Sunday. I got out on the track, and the very first session was a positive. My foot felt pretty good while I was riding. I did suffer a little bit afterwards with some swelling, but on the positive side, it didn’t seem to affect my body positioning and how I ride the bike. That was one of the biggest points for me, was just to have that confidence to get into the correct positions. The first session was just nice to kind of knock the cobwebs off, and then, I went quicker in the next session. The test gave me the mental clarity I needed, and to realize that I can still ride and push to the same limits where I was last year. Right now, I’m looking forward to training some more. I’ll be heading out to California next week to train with Josh Hayes at his J4orce Training Camp, just to get in better shape and be ready for our next test halfway through March and then, the test at COTA at the end of March. I’m anxious to see how we compare with the rest of the Superbike boys.”
Next up for Mathew and the team will be a test at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway in Munford, Alabama, in the middle of March just prior to the MotoAmerica Dunlop Official Preseason Test at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, on March 30 and 31.